ST. LOUIS - Five hundred women in St. Louis took the first step Thursday night to land computer programming jobs. They could change the landscape of the male dominated field, and all that girl power could fuel a whole new workforce.
Women with a little work experience, women with a lot of work experience, women of all cultures and background are going to spend the next few months learning computer code. Michelle Trusgnich is one of them.
Trusgnich is folding napkins, and serving up drinks at the Whiskey House in the Central West End. She loves the human contact, but in the last 23 years, she had more contact with mice, than men.
"I have a bachelor's degree in science, in genetics and graduate courses in genetic epidemiology," she said.
Trusgnich was a genetic scientist at Washington University, exploring the new frontier of gene research, working on things like the Human Genome Project until the National Institutes of Health cut the money for gene research. She was out of a job.
The waitress gig pays the bill. It also puts her on the road to a new frontier. She's going to be a Coder Girl. Coder Girl is colleen Liebig's brainchild.
"Originally I got 10 girls together. I thought that was going to be a good group and then when that turned into 500 it was very exciting. STL is about to change we're about to have a lot of female computer programmers," said Liebig.
Jim McKelvey is going to help them get through the free course. He changed the IT world with his invention of Square.
"We have thousands of jobs we have women who should be filling those jobs and hopefully a lot of them are here," said McKelvey.
The Coder Girls got some homework but they'll go to their first official class starts on June 5. They have a year to finish it, but many will get through the course in three to four months.
McKelvey said international companies go where the talent is. They could end up in St. Louis now to hire the Coder Girls.
For more information or to sign up for the Coder Girl class, email firstname.lastname@example.org.